Apologies for my arrogation of this thread from our beloved sister forum, but I thought it'd be an interesting topic to discuss here amongst the incorrigible machismo of the PDD: when was the last time you (yes you, tough guy!) actually cried?
I haven't cried properly (i.e. proper tears rolling down my cheeks, whimperng and so forth) since I was about 10 or 11, but I've come close a couple of times. The first was just after my parents split up when I was about 17 (they're still married five years on, btw - god only knows why) and I was harbouring a lot of resentment towards my dad for the part he played in the split (and - without going into details - it was predominantly his fault). Anyway, I had a dream one night about him dying and a couple of the images (not of him dying, but of the life he had led) really stuck in my mind. It's difficult to describe (even though I'm sure you all understand the sensation) just how vivid and demonstrative dreams can be, but I woke up in the middle of the night and spent the next few hours just thinking - in an endless loop - about just how much he had done for me. As much as I love my mum, I understand that most of who I am has to do with what my dad has taught me over the years. Everything from my love of science (he's a geologist), to my love of philosophy and literature (even though I've probably - without any hint of arrogance - excelled beyond him in my love and comprehension of the former, he was still the one who introduced me to it), to my political orientation (he's a bit of an old-school socialist, which I've largely outgrown, but his humanitarianism and his skepticism towards political authority I've largely retained over the years), he was the one who groomed me into the impeccable human being you see before you right now. While I went to bed resenting him, after dreaming about his death, I spent the rest of the night in that emotional state that is so easy to reach when you're tired but unable to sleep, just thinking about him, how much he'd done for me and how the rift between him and my mum, ultimately, shouldn't change what he meant to me. I came close to tears just thinking about it.
(How's that for sappy, eh...? )
The only other time I can remember coming close to tears recently, was reading the conclusion of Albert Camus' First Man only a couple of months ago. I'm rarely emotionally moved by mere words, but this one really got to me. Most people probably wouldn't get it, but everything kind of culminated in the last couple of chapters and it really stirred me emotionally.
The reasons why:
- Camus has always (well for the past 4-5 years at least) been a hero of mine and this was the last of his major works I'd still yet to read.
- The semi-autobiographical book was a vivid description of the pleasures he'd enjoyed throughout an adverse childhood and it culminates with a letter written to him, as an adult, by the teacher who was so influential in his development as a person (Camus, never having known his own father, saw him as a father figure) and Camus' response to it (both of which, it goes without saying, are incredibly touching).
- The last chapter was just this raw (raw because he never got the chance to revise it) flurry of words detailing Camus' incomprehnsible passion for life and you read it knowing that the book it was contained within was never finished because he died prematurely in a car-crash in 1961. The words you read about how precious every senstation in life is, were probably the last he wrote before he died.
I know it doesn't sound like much, but all these three elements came to a head at the end and I was having a hard time holding back the tears at the back of the bus that day (yeah, I was on a bus - could you imagine how it would have looked if I'd started bawling? ).
Anyway, enough about me. When was the last time you cried?